Our in-house development team work hard to create top-notch tech for our clients, but how do they do it? Our Junior Developer, Luke explains all…

Development is always something that interested me, and after achieving a degree in Computer Science, I knew a role in the tech world was what I was working towards.

Working as a developer within The Verve Group is one of the most challenging, but rewarding experiences thus far. Each new day offers a different challenge than the last. Every day I’m learning about new, more efficient ways to create new functionality and enhance the systems to ensure our clients and our staff are satisfied and can do their day to day tasks efficiently.

The techy bit

Although I would love to jump straight into coding something, there’s a lot to consider before that.

Our development time is split into three-week chunks we call; Sprints. These are our timelines for developing for the next release. These could consist of fixing bugs, providing new features or providing visual enhancements. For the latter of the three, we would work with our in-house design team to create a user experience (UX) design for a screen or feature. Bugs always find their way into code, it’s spotting them quickly and handling them efficiently that stops them from affecting our clients. We work closely with our staff and clients to ensure bugs are located and removed as quickly as possible.

Putting clients first

The process of developing for our clients at The Verve Group consists of finding out what our clients want. As a development team, we work with businesses within the group, Apricity and Para-Sols to pinpoint what is needed and what is desired. Putting the consumer first, we ensure we collect feedback – whether this is through emails from the clients themselves, polls on our social media or during our dedicated focus groups. Along with any new features we always ensure time is put aside for fixing any bugs and then further testing with our quality assurance specialists, to make sure they are intuitive to use for our clients.

Next on the agenda is planning. We have our swanky new feature, but how will we implement this? How will we time manage it? Who will do what? These questions, and many more, are discussed in detail in our planning sessions. For each feature, we have a story block, which consists of the finer details.

CPD tracking tool

A great example of where we have used this process is when our CPD tracker tool was developed (all be it, a slightly speedier version of the process, as this was created during a 12-hour Hackathon!). The initial idea came from a poll that we put out, asking advisers what new tool would make their lives easier – a process that we use often when it comes to implementing new changes.

The CPD dashboard was our higher-level feature, the CPD chart was one of the stories within that feature. All developers have different ways of working, I find breaking down my workloads into manageable chunks helps me create quality features in our system.

Coding

Now to the interesting stuff… coding. Using the current technology in our systems, I begin coding using the previously mentioned process to guide my work. This is definitely the most challenging but rewarding part of my day job, there’s always a new problem to solve! It’s like completing a big puzzle, filled with little puzzles. During the development, the needs of our clients and users are always my first priority, I go into each challenge thinking ‘What would this user do in this scenario?’.

User experience is vital when developing for a client. There is nothing worse than when you head over to a funky new system, which on the surface looks great, but is super hard to manoeuvre. That’s why we take every part of our user experience into consideration.

The final step of any project is the testing and reworking. Our quality assurance specialists are responsible for testing all of the elements created by us developers as part of the Sprint. Any issues they may come across, or improvements that are thought of, go into rework – this is where we alleviate the issues and provide the enhancements.

Working with a team of creative, excited and motivated people makes the work not feel like work! And it’s really inspiring to see a group of people with a wide range of skills; development, UX design, quality assurance and more, come together to build much-needed tech solutions for advisers and planners.

It is rewarding seeing your work go live, but it’s an even better feeling knowing I’ve created something for a client, a piece of software they use and appreciate on their day to day. It’s great. I can’t wait to see what the future brings; with new technologies and new challenges!

Luke Beatty – Junior Developer

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